Sunday, 25 December 2016

New to Me and You!

Merry Christmas and welcome to the final New to Me link party of 2016.

I hope you have all had a happy and peaceful (!) day, however you chose to spend it.

As ever, it is the time of the month to reflect on anything that we have tried for the first time this month, whether ultimately successful or not. So, if you have attempted FMQ'ing on a handmade Christmas gift or tried a new recipe for your Christmas cake link up and give yourself a pat on the back for moving out of that comfort zone :)

My New to Me's are an eclectic bunch to end the year with.

I visited Hamburg for the first time to enjoy the delights of the Christmas Market where, as you can see, Santa made a flying visit complete with a reindeer-drawn sleigh!

I created another new tutorial for the blog on the, by now, well worn theme of Christmas Puddings :)

The most daunting New to Me though is this scary looking overlocker that has taken up residence in my sewing room.

My friend rang me one afternoon to tell me that she was in Lidl and they had just taken delivery of these overlockers if I was interested. My initial reaction was not at the minute. Then we had a couple of hours to spare before the rugby game we were going to was kicking off, there  was a Lidl within two miles ( I might just have checked!) and it wouldn't do any harm to have a look, would it??

You can see where that line of thinking got me!

So far, all I have done is take it out of the box, contemplate how scary looking it is and put it back but, hopefully, in a quiet few hours over the holidays I might manage to give it a go. All tips gratefully received :)

So, that's my New to Me for December now it is your link up and celebrate the trying of something new. Of course it would be nice if our something New's were successful, but you are amongst friends here. We know that it isn't always the case so, hey, we are here to celebrate anyway the fact that we tried :)

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Celtic Thistle Stitches

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 
The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on December 31st, so if you found some exciting new kit or notion under the tree today, get it out and give it a whirl and link up and join the party :)

Friday, 23 December 2016

A final flourish

Well the big day is nearly upon us and the time for creating handmade gifts is almost gone, but I have managed to add one more gift to the pile under the tree today.

After ignoring it for weeks I have finally managed to sit down and finish the last of my beadwork animal kits from Ann's Orchard Needlework. I give you Hetty the Bantam.

Hetty has been framed with her partner in crime, Lettice the rabbit to round off the set.

 Basil and Hilda

Daisy the Cow

 Cheddar the Mouse

I thought that I had a photo of Daisy and Cheddar framed but I can't find it so you will just have to take my word for it that they have been, honest :)

I have really enjoyed working on these little kits, the quality of the materials and instructions have been excellent. Emma has a lovely robin embroidery pattern available to download on her website. I might tuck it away for stitching later!

If you have whipped up any last minute gifts don't forget to link them up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party here for a chance to win the giveaway prize.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts    Stitchery Link Party Button

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Hamburg Highlights Part 2

It is always fascinating to me to see how modern cities blend the old and the new, and in nowhere I have been was this more impressive than in Hamburg.

The main building in this photo is the newly opened Elbphilharmonie, the newest concert hall in Hamburg. As you can see the building is made up of a modern top upon an old warehouse base. The sides of the building have been designed to represent fish scales and at 110m high it is now the tallest, inhabited building in Hamburg.

I think it is probably a building that you either love or hate, I loved it but my husband hated it!

The construction of the concert hall certainly disproves all those myths about German efficiency as it overran the original completion estimates several times and cost significantly more than the original budget :)

From the site of the Old Fish Market across the harbour, you can get a better impression of how impressive the building is. Of course, a close up view would be even better and as there are 45 apartments in the building, if we ever won the lottery we could have that too!

From one extreme to the other! Shortly after leaving the Old Fish Market area we came across the Strand Pauli beach club, which is apparently open all year round but not at 10.00 a.m. it seems :) I suspect that the type of person who is wandering around taking photos at 10.00 a.m. is not really the clientele that the Strand Pauli is aimed at, don't you?

I hope you have enjoyed this whistle stop tour of Hamburg, it is definitely a city to add to the bucket list.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Hamburg Highlights Part 1

Regular readers will know that for the past few years I have taken my daughters-in-law on a Christmas Market shopping trip to make up for all of the sport-related trips that happen regularly in our family. This year due to the arrival of our gorgeous grandson in September a weekend away wasn't on the cards. Not wishing to forgo my annual Gluhwein fest I roped in my husband instead for the trip! I am not sure that he knew what to expect :)

This year we visited Hamburg Christmas Market, a New to Me destination.

There are several Markets around the city, the largest of which is in front of the City Hall. We knew we were in the right place when we saw these illuminations!

The City Hall was an impressive sight by night, and the Market was pretty amazing too! The Gluhwein wasn't too shabby either  :)

Hamburg, once a Hanseatic City, is the second largest port in Europe and even although it was winter there was still lots of activity on the waterfront.

From the elegance of the sailing ship Rickmer Rickmers to the sinister shape of the Russian Submarine U 434, both now museums, there was plenty to keep us occupied.

We hadn't realised that we would be in Hamburg for the feast of Saint Nicholas, which doesn't really feature as a celebration in the UK. So, we were very surprised to find these in a gift bag outside our hotel room door on the morning of the feast day.

Needless to say they were much appreciated :)

One of the delights of our visit to this wonderful city, was discovering the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world. It doesn't sound very exciting I know, but it was a fascinating area.

It was quiet when we were there but you can just imagine how busy the area must have been in its heyday, can't you?

Whilst some of the warehouses have been converted into flats, many of them are still working commercial buildings. All of the offices on the street photographed above were involved in the importing of Oriental carpets, bizarrely enough!

The buildings also housed a Museum (top) and a delightful Tea House (bottom), which provided some welcome relief for tired legs after all the walking :)

We also discovered the answer to that age-old conundrum - where to put the Christmas tree on a boat!

I had written most of this post before the recent tragic event in Berlin Christmas Market and my heart goes out to the families and friends of those killed in the attack. They, like my husband and I and our daughters-in-law before, were simply enjoying the wonderful atmosphere of fun and friendship that typifies a German Christmas Market. I sincerely hope that this is not lost in the aftermath of the Berlin tragedy.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

The final countdown! On a roll another Christmas Pudding tutorial.

Welcome to the final Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party of 2016

If you have been following along throughout the year you will have a stack of handmade gifts all ready and waiting to be delivered on the 25th. If not, fear not there is still (a little!) time to create something unique for some of the special people in your life.

I have been on a roll with Christmas Pudding makes recently, so have one more Christmas Pudding themed make for you to round out the year :)

A Christmas Pudding Hot Pad!

To make one as a last minute gift you will need :


  • 10" square of quilting cotton for the back of the hot pad (Fabric A)
  • 10" square of tweed spot fabric, or equivalent (Fabric B)
  • 10" x 8" rectangle of cream waffle fabric (Fabric C) 
  • 10" square heat resistant wadding
  • 10" square cotton wadding (or two squares of heat resistant wadding)
  • 2.25" x WOF strip of red quilting cotton for binding 
  • 2.25" x 6" strip of red quilting cotton for hanging loop (or similar width ribbon would work too)
  • Scrap of green felt
  • Red button (approx 7/8" in diameter)
You will also need an 8" embroidery hoop inner, or something similar, to draw around for the pudding shape.

Step 1

Trace around the embroidery hoop or whatever you are using for a template on the reverse side of Fabrics A and B, and both of the wadding fabrics. Cut out the circle shapes from each. Using your template, draw a semi-circle on the waffle cotton and cut out.

Step 2

Layer up your fabric pieces in the following order ;

      • Bottom Layer     -    Fabric A right side down
      • Second Layer     -    First layer of wadding
      • Third Layer        -    Second layer of wadding
      • Fourth Layer      -    Fabric B right side up
      • Fifth Layer         -    Fabric C right side up

Pin and stitch around the edge of the Hot Pad with an 1/8" seam, stitching through all the layers to stabilise them before binding.

Step 3

Fold the binding strip fabric in half lengthways and press. Open out the fabric and fold the raw edges in to meet at the pressed fold.

Starting at the centre top of the Hot Pad, insert the pad between the two folded sides of the binding. The raw edge of the hot pad layers should be at the pressed centre fold of the binding.

Pin and baste the binding around the Hot Pad, starting and ending at the centre top of the Hot Pad.

Using a small zigzag stitch attach the binding to the Hot Pad. The stitching will attach both the back and the front of the binding to the hot pad.

Step 4

Repeat the folding and pressing above for the hanging loop strip. Top stitch down each long side of the folded hanging loop strip.

Fold under 1/4" at each short end of the hanging loop and press.

Where the Hot Pad binding meets at the top, place the folded ends of the hanging loop over the ends at the front and back.
Stitch the hanging loop to the hotpad, sewing in a box formation to secure the loop. Make sure that the top line of the box is beyond the Hot Pad bound edge to fully enclose the raw edges of the Hot Pad binding.

Step 5

Cut out two holly leaf shapes from the green felt scrap and stitch to the top of the Hot Pad, slightly below the end of the hanging loop. Stitch the red button to the Hot Pad where the holly leaves join.

Give the Hot Pad a final press and tick another last minute gift off the list!

If you need some inspiration for your festive crafting, each month we add a brand-new Christmas or Holiday project to the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew archive. Click on the button at the top of the page to see all of the brilliant projects dreamt up to date by our fabulously talented guest hosts and be inspired!

As ever, we have a great giveaway prize for one lucky linker and this month's prize will definitely kick start your Christmas Crafting!

A Long Quarter of this lovely Christmas Stamp fabric and 1m of Merry Christmas ribbon to boot. I am sure that you will all have lots of creative ways to use them.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is  link up your Festive makes to this month's Link Party to be entered into the draw. Keep it current though no blasts from the past here! The Link Party is open until 23.59 GMT on December 31st so you can link up all those secret Santa projects that you worked on this month :)

The winner of last month's festive thread collection was Sandra, who managed to add another collection of Eunice bags to her burgeoning stash of handmade gifts and some great Snowman hand puppets.

So, now it is your turn to link up and see if you can win that giveaway prize.

Check out the Christmas Pudding Wreath tutorial here and the Christmas Pudding Applique Teatowel Tutorial here.

As ever, a huge thank you to our lovely giveaway prize sponsors, who have been so generous throughout the year.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Exploring pastures new

We have had some glorious weather here on the West Coast of Scotland recently, so after our ferry trip to Arran we decided to make the most of the weather with another road trip.

This time we took a ferry to Dunoon

and headed North to Loch Fyne , the largest sea loch in Scotland and Inverary, the location of the home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Clan Campbell. As you can see the scenery was spectacular!

My husband was delighted to come across the Fyne Malts shop on the Main Street, and even more delighted when the owner provided him with some samples to try! All of them were pronounced delightful and some of them might have found their way into our shopping bag :)

Equally delightful, but sadly closed for the winter, was Inverary Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll. They know how to live those Dukes, don't they??

Avid fans of Downton Abbey, might recognise Inverary Castle as the location of the house party attended by the Granthams in the 2012 Christmas special!

A spectacular day was rounded off with a plate of oysters at the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar
pronounced the best he's ever tasted by my other half

and an equally delicious fish chowder for me!

Can you tell we are really enjoying exploring our new area :) ????

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